In my opinion, these are the top 10 myths that people use to promote the initiation of building projects in the church.
Myth #1. This building will be used to reach the next generation of young people
Buildings do not reach the next generation. People reach other people. The reason why you cannot neglect this truth is because the next generation rarely ever fills the pews of the previous generation. The next generation will have its own agenda to build, and I will guarantee it will differ from what the previous generation has visioned.
This reminds me of a story of a carpenter and his son. As the son was young, the father invested much time and money in training his son in the carpenter business. He bought lots of expensive tools and invested a lot into his business so that his son would have the best opportunities possible whenever he took over the business. But as the boy got older, he wanted to do something else besides being a carpenter. Of course, you can see that much of what the father had envisioned in his boy would not come to fruition.
Myth #2. Once we build this, more people will come
I think we get fooled by the old cliché that says, “If you build it, they will come”. As if it’s a magnet or something? More or less what I think the premise behind that statement is, “once we upgrade our facility I’ll be more proud to invite people to this church”. Another thing that I don’t understand is that our encounter with God is not show and tell.
Remember when Elijah met God in the mountains? There was a fire, an earthquake, and mighty wind, but God was found in the spectacular display. He was subtle and non-abrasive. God does not need a banner. What do we think? Don’t you think that the creation of heaven and earth is a good enough banner to advertise God?
Myth #3. This will help us reach our city
I understand that God gives us all things to use as tools to evangelize, but when you are “out there” reaching the city than that means you are not “inside” your building. in essence, it’s not even helping you reach the city that is “out there”. The city will not reach for you.
Of course, we are all familiar with the great commission, “Go out into all the world”. Need I say more? A church building is not mobile. It cannot get up and move, (not unless it’s on wheels) and start evangelizing and ministering to those in your city.
In conclusion of this point, how will your building and its facilities help you reach your city that cannot already be facilitated elsewhere?
Myth #4. This is God’s Storehouse
The storehouse in the Old Testament was the place where the Levites had stored what they had collected in tithes and offerings from the nation of Israel. Somehow in the New Testament, we’ve come up with a transferable analogy that the storehouse in the Old Testament is a picture of the church building in the New Testament. I have no clue where this idea stems from, because clearly, these people haven’t read the verse that talks about our eternal storehouse. “Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven”, is the proper view of what our storehouse is today.
We need to stop dignifying the perishable church building as a religious icon. The world doesn’t need another icon. It only needs Jesus.
Myth #5. God wants us to build his kingdom
This is for those of you who think that God meant building his infrastructure on earth. Of course most of us agree that we need to be multiplying the number of saints rather than building real estate here on earth.
Outside of that thought how much of the Church body today really understands the concept that God is not trying to build an empire the size of your city’s zip code? For example we can look at the Mormons. They practically have downtown Salt Lake City, Utah under control of their regime.
This is kind of a rabbit trail, but there’s one thing that bugs me about churches locking their doors. I’m not talking about leaving their doors open at night for thieves to steal, but I’m talking about the churches that have 10 entrances and they only open 1 of the doors so they have better crowd control or that they are lazy to open all of them. I guess what I’m trying to see if how many of you went to walk into your church and then pulled onto the door handle and found out it was locked. This is just my opinion but what kind of message is that? Really? On the Sunday morning that it happens to a visitor, I hope the pastor doesn’t read the verse that says, “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice”. Also in the back of my head, I’m curious to the churches that even have their doors open at all during the week. So all that time, the building is just sitting there literally wasting away.
Myth #6. Our renovated and upgraded sanctuary resembles the glory of God
– We act like we are recreating the holy of holies or the temple of Solomon! At one point I had the privilege of going to a church that had built a 96 million dollar facility. As a matter of fact, they paid cash for it! Let me tell you, it was something. It was beautiful! But once I walked out the doors on Sunday, what was it to me then? What was it to God then? God doesn’t sit up in heaven and just stare at all the beautiful churches, as if he were walking through a gallery admiring all the works of art.
Most people renovate their church out of peer pressure from so many complaints. I know of churches who have split over the color of the carpets or where the piano should go. What they’ve done is completely forget about their savior, who was born in some cave, placed in a feeding trough, and grew up a carpenter’s son.
Myth #7. We need to invest in more room to fit our congregation
-God is calling his church to disperse, not build our own civilization. A passage about the tower of babel in Genesis 10 says, “And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Now in the 21st century mankind is back to our old ways. We get so comfortable and are so afraid to break up the chemistry. We think that we can’t possibly start a new church or disperse the people we do have. Because we are carnal thinkers, when we are uncomfortable, we come up with a natural way to fix it, instead of coming up the spiritual way.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not talking about that we all should be worshipping under the open sky whether or not it’s rain or shine. Many churches do not make the right decisions when it comes to investment. Just because you built your church building on some property that is appraised higher than what you bought it for, does not mean that God looks at it as an investment.
This reminds me of the story in Luke 12 which states,
“Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
‘So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’”
Myth #8. The debt will be worth it
– There can be much said on this subject alone. The first thing that comes to mind is that our debts typically do not last for 10 to 15 years. Most of our church mortgage debts run for typically 30 years. This means that these debts will not only be paid by us, but also by our children. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to pay for my parent’s debt. I don’t care if they think the debt was for my benefit. I don’t want to pay it. Why should children have to pay for the debts on the decisions that their parents have made?
Let’s not forget about what will be neglected because we have to pour so much of our money into paying off this debt now. Who will go hungry, what ministries and missionaries will be sacrificed? Are we neglecting the one good to do different good?
What will you have to sacrifice from your family so that your church family will have? Are you leaving an investment for your children or are you considering this church building your investment for them? Eventually they will move away from that area, so then what? 2 Corinthians 12 states, “For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”
If I knew the end of the world was going to be next week, I’d be racking up all of my credit cards and going into as far debt as possible. I would only do that because I knew next week it wouldn’t matter. But the Church isn’t doing this because they are getting ready for the rapture, tribulation, or the end of the world; they are doing it from the desire to pursue the American dream. This country is in unprecedented debt, and why should we preach against it when our church’s debt is maxed out?
Myth #9. Our growth will allow us to birth more programs and functions
– If only we had more, then we could do more for those who don’t have what we’re gonna have.
Although I can say more, I don’t think I should. That said it all there.
Myth #10. This is the will of God
– There are many churches out there that have fallen into the path of a pastor who has been misled. For most churches, all it takes is the pastors to get up one day and say that God is calling them to initiate a church building project, and from then on, all the energy, time, and resources is poured into the pastor’s vision. I understand the role of the pastor. They are to lead and to shepherd, but God still created him as part of the body. The pastor is not the head or the cornerstone, he is a co-dependant organ, just like the rest of the body parts.
There are so many people out there that claim the will of God and His power over their life, but the repercussions do not show the power of God. I agree that it is hard to discern the will of God, but no man can do it alone. The pastor must operate as one of many.
What happens many times in building projects is that the pastor gets everyone all pumped up and on board with this goal. Then all of a sudden when bills hit and the pastor is preaching his 10th sermon this season on giving, people now aren’t so on board with it all. You see what happens is that the pastor’s will was not the will of God. You do have some people that continue to stay on board, but the majority lose track of the excitement because they’ve realized that they’ve been pursuing the dreams and visions that a man, and not God, has placed on their hearts.
As a simple illustration, this is typically how this same scenario works out with a teacher who is motivating kids to go to the museum for a field trip. The teacher pumps the kids full of excitement about the awesome dinosaurs, and animals that are at the museum. But when the kids get there, they are bored out of their mind. They are not interested at all. Yes, the teacher told the truth about a few dinosaurs and animals, but to a kid who can’t touch or climb on it, it’s dumb.
You see, the teacher wanted to go to the museum, and then all he had to do was excite the children into going. There was no consensus made nor was there a proper perspective painted about the actual experience.
When I am facing some open doors for my family, it would be foolish for me to just excite my wife about the decision that I’ve made without actually consulting her first. When you are a body, you breathe as a body, you think as a body, and you open doors as a body. It is designed this way by God because he knows that 1 man(one body part) has difficulty discerning the decisions for the whole body.